Thursday, January 08, 2009

Flooding Update *2*

I may have spoken too quickly.

Mr. Daddy was optimistic this morning as it looked like the river in the backyard was holding steady. However, we are very close to the two other rivers that are at record flood stage.

The one that is covering the freeway near us is still rising at a foot an hour and is expected to crest tonight at 10 FEET of water over the freeway. How does that happen? I mean, I know... but it's surreal.

The news just goes on and on with a list of scary stuff. Here's the link and a copy:

I-5 may remain closed for days as rivers rise

Story Published: Jan 8, 2009 at 6:31 AM PST
Story Updated: Jan 8, 2009 at 6:52 AM PST
By KOMO Staff & News Services

More than 30,000 people were told to leave their flood-endangered homes in Western Washington on Wednesday as rain lashed much of the state, causing widespread avalanches, mudslides and high water that could reach record levels.
On Thursday morning, some rivers had crested at record levels and some were still rising. Dozens of roads and highways have been cut off, and emergency crews are still scrambling to assist those trapped in flooded neighborhoods.
Many school districts were again forced to close or delay classes due to flooded roads (see full schools list).
Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said Interstate 5 at Chehalis could be closed for four days.
She said the flooding is similar to the December 2007 flood that caused a four-day blockage on the main north-south route in Western Washington.
Crews on the scene said the water over I-5 is still rising at nearly one foot per hour.
Hammond said when the Chehalis River crests Thursday night, officials expect water to be 10 feet deep over the highway. After the water starts falling, crews plan to use pumps and breach a levy to help the water drain out.
The state has 1,200 DOT crew members out working to clear area roads, but options to get out of Western Washington are limited, as the major mountain passes over the cascades are also closed.
Highway officials hoped to reopen one main east-west route sometime Thursday - likely Interstate 90 across Snoqualmie Pass - "to get people moving and freight moving and supplies moving," said state Transportation Department spokeswoman Alice Fiman.
Amtrak passenger train service out of Seattle was suspended due to mudslides, Amtrak said in a news release.
Overnight, residents continued to evacuate from towns and cities along flooding rivers. State emergency officials said voluntary evacuations were recommended for Snoqualmie, and for the southwest Washington cities of Naselle, Packwood and Randle.
Fire trucks rolled through Orting on Wednesday, about 10 miles southeast of Tacoma, with loudspeakers advising everyone to leave the town and surrounding valley, home to about 26,000 people. Sandbags were placed around many downtown homes and businesses as the Puyallup River neared record levels.
Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma declared a civil emergency for his city of about 200,000, largely because of Puyallup River flooding risks to the city's wastewater treatment plant.
State emergency officials said voluntary evacuations were recommended for Snoqualmie, a riverside town 25 miles east of Seattle, and for the southwest Washington cities of Naselle, Packwood and Randle.
The Snoqualmie River at Carnation, in the rural Snoqualmie Valley, was measured at 61.55 feet at 4 a.m. Thursday, more than 7 feet above flood stage and a record for measurements kept since 1932.
On the mountain passes, crews are coping with huge amounts of snow and rain, and an avalanche of snow and mud about 100 yards wide damaged some weekend recreation homes in the Hyak area east of Snoqualmie Pass.
Chris Caviezel, who has lived at Snoqualmie Pass for about seven years, said conditions were the worst he has seen.
"We're getting avalanches and we're being flooded," he said.
In flooded towns, police and firefighters used boats and hovercraft to reach stranded residents, and a Coast Guard helicopter rescued two stranded people in Morton, in southwest Washington's Lewis County.
In Concrete, 70 miles northeast of Seattle, a 66-year-old woman was rescued after being trapped briefly in a house that was hit by a mudslide and collapsed.
"It felt like an earthquake," Diane Bergsma said. "I thought I was dead."
In Snoqualmie, kayakers paddled in the street as city officials urged residents in the flood plain of the Snoqualmie River to leave before they became trapped.
Rachel Myers stood across a flooded parking lot from her home and waited for her father to pick her up in a boat. She said her family has lived in the house since her great-grandmother built it, but they've decided this will be their last winter there.
"With flood after flood, it just gets more ruined every time," Myers said.
What's next?
The soaking rains have come to an end as the storm has pushed off to the east. A weak trough of low pressure will move through Thursday morning, bringing some scattered light showers through the early afternoon, with the exception of a Convergence Zone roaming between northern King and southern Skagit County, keeping some light rain going there.
We'll then dry out as we get into the afternoon, and stay dry until Saturday evening.
Up in the mountains, more moisture will fall, but snow levels will be dropping to around 3,000 feet by late morning, meaning it'll mostly fall as snow -- even at pass level.
That will keep more water from running into the rivers, but make driving a challenge, especially since it'll now be the primary route between Seattle and Portland with I-5 closed.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday for as much as 6-11 inches of new snow, especially between Stevens and Snoqualmie Pass.
That means if crews do manage to reopen the passes today, expect winter driving conditions. Avalanche danger remains extreme, and frequent pass closures for avalanche control are likely.
Record river flooding
Flood waters are expected to near or reach record stages along the Stillaguamish near Arlington, the Snoqualmie River near Carnation, the Skookumchuck near Centralia, the Newaukum near Chehalis, and the Chehalis River near Centralia. In fact, the Chehalis River is expected to reach a similar height to the floods of December, 2007.
Major flooding is occurring on several other rivers, including the Skokomish, Snohomish, Tolt, Cedar, Nisqually, Cowlitz, as well as Issaquah Creek.


Elyse said...

Oh my goodness...10 feet or more?
Hang in there!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW! Stay safe! Prayers for safety!

He & Me + 3 said...

OMGosh Rach...that is horrible. I am praying!

Killlashandra said...

10 FEET! Yikes that's high.